No royal ‘is above law’

Updated 05 June 2015

No royal ‘is above law’

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has vowed that his government would have zero tolerance for corruption in the country, and that he and other members of the royal family are not above the law.
“In some countries the kings and heads of state have immunity from prosecution. But here any citizen can file lawsuits against the king, crown prince or other members of the royal family,” said King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Wednesday, during a meeting with anti-corruption officials and activists from the public and private sectors.
King Salman said his father was once sued by a citizen. King Abdul Aziz insisted on letting the law take its course and appeared in court with the plaintiff, where they were treated as equals. The verdict was in favor of the king but he waived his rights. Sheikh Saad bin Atiq was the judge.
He said Allah would reward citizens who point out mistakes made by him, members of the government, or community. The public can lodge complaints face to face, on the telephone or in writing, he said.
King Salman said he considers the rights of citizens “more important” than his own, and that the real defense against corrupt activity was the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
This was the foundation of the country over the years, from the time of Muhammad bin Saud, to Turki bin Abdullah, followed by “my father Abdulaziz, and then to Saud, Faisal, Khaled, Fahd and Abdullah, and the crown princes Sultan and Naif.”
King Salman said the Kingdom was a safe haven for everyone. “Thanks to Allah, our constitution is the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger, and the example of the pious Khalifs. Thank God, our country is secure and stable, and any citizen can come address us by our first names, without any honorific title, just as citizens used to address our father,” the king said.
“I tell you, I repeat again that the pride, strength and responsibility of this country lie in the fact that it is the direction in which Muslims across the world pray, and the place where revelation was received by Muhammad (peace be upon him). It came in the Arabic language to an Arab prophet. Therefore we have the greatest responsibility in the entire world,” the king said.
Speaking on the occasion, Khaled Al-Muhaisin, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), said: “Since the unification of the Kingdom, the major goal of the founder of the nation, King Abdulaziz, has been to fight corruption.”
Al-Muhaisin said King Abdulaziz sent out a message to citizens that if they do not lodge complaints about officials then it was like sinning against themselves. The founder had placed a complaints box at the gate to Government House and kept the key so that citizens would not fear any repercussions from officials targeted.
Al-Muhaisin said this message currently serves as a guiding light for the Nazaha. He thanked King Salman for supporting the organization’s activities, including efforts to revise regulations that would strengthen its mandate.


Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

Updated 2 min 7 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

  • Wayakit leaves the clothes clean and fresh again

JEDDAH: Wayakit is a biotechnology start-up incubated by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

KAUST Ph.D students Sandra Medina and Luisa Javier are avid travelers who have come up with a pocket-sized product that deals with both odors and stains on fabrics, leaving the cloths clean and fresh again.

Wayakit is also gentler on fabrics because traditional laundry eventually damages them, said Javier, who first moved to Saudi Arabia from Mexico ten years ago.

Her business partner, Sandra Medina, who came from Colombia to study at KAUST, explained to Arab News how Wayakit works. “You just spray the smelly area twice and you’re good to go. In the case of stains, you spray twice and then pat dry it with a tissue and it will disappear,” she said.

The idea for the product came during a trip for a conference two years ago when the travelers realized their luggage was lost “We had to present with our dirty, seven-hours’ flight clothes,” Javier told Arab News.

“We started looking into the possibility then, because there’s not a proper solution to doing laundry while traveling,” she said.

 

They decided they needed to come up with a product that was not pricey, was easy to carry, and did the job by removing stains and bad odors “on-the-go.”

 

 

The duo began by interviewing more than 100 travelers of 23 different nationalities to find out if this was a common issue that travelers struggled with.

 

“From the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, we learned the importance of listening first to the customers before designing any product,” said Medina. From these interviews, Wayakit team got the product requirements and then moved into the lab to start working on the formulation of Wayakit. “The amazing facilities and labs in KAUST helped us to speed up the creation of our first prototype. After this, the same KAUST community was the people who first tried Wayakit and gave us feedback. “In KAUST we do not only have state-of-the-art labs, but also a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Medina added.

Wayakit is different from its competitors in that it contains no toxic chemicals, and covers a broader spectrum in covering stains — it is two products in one. It also contains anti-bacterial properties, acting as a sanitizer that “removes all the stains that occur on a day-to-day basis as well as being an odor remover,” Javier said.

The pair went for a biotechnology-based formula that excluded the usage of oxidizers and focused on more organic compounds. “Even the anti-bacterial properties are not toxic as we incorporated these in an environmentally friendly formulation,” she said.

The Wayakit founders had to rigorously test their product, dealing with different types of sweat and stains to perfect their spray. “We had to give testers to travelers to try it out and had to listen to their feedback, then went back to the lab to improve it, in order to make sure the product was as promised.”

Medina said KAUST’s mentorship had also helped their company to develop. “KAUST for us is a catalyst of entrepreneurship and has given us a lot of room to grow our start-up Wayakit,” she said.

KAUST helped Wayakit by giving the advice and support from the start. From entrepreneurial courses to teaching the concepts of building a brand, KAUST encouraged Wayakit to grow from a scientific outlook and helped the founders to better understand the customer.

“As foreigners, it was difficult for us to understand the logistics and procurement of shipping and importing here in Saudi Arabia. KAUST has helped us to face that hurdle in order to be able to reach all our clients in the MENA region and worldwide,” Medina said. “Beyond helping travellers, our mission is to change the way how laundry is commonly done. We found a way to effectively wash clothes reducing water and energy consumption,” Javier said. 

Wayakit has recently began selling in Jeddah’s Homegrown Market, chosen because it is “a Middle Eastern brand store with unique ambience,” said Medina.